Why Selhurst Park is a special ground for United
I've experienced some incredible atmospheres while following Manchester United, but I genuinely believe none can match the one generated at Selhurst Park on 21 April 1993.
The scene of Manchester United's next Premier League outing also hosted our first away game as champions on the final day of the season as Wimbledon's temporary home.
It seems difficult to fathom nowadays but I had no idea title rivals Aston Villa, managed by Ron Atkinson, were trailing Blackburn Rovers, having kicked off earlier, as I made my way into the United end. On entering the ground, it became abundantly clear that a party was in progress.
Having been scarred by the events of the previous year, when we were favourites to land the Division One title but lost out to Leeds United, and not enjoying a league success in my lifetime, it was finally time to dare believing that the long wait was over.
‘We shall not be moved, like a team that's going to win the Football League,’ was chanted over and over again but, while Villa lost 3-0, it took some time for the Reds (wearing our green-and-yellow kit) to break the deadlock on the night, for all of the noisy backing from the terraces.
Mark Hughes finally opened the scoring in the 64th minute with a trademark volley past Nigel Martyn. Cantona set up the chance and the Welshman had ample opportunity to bring it down and finish, as he was completely unmarked. Instead, he hit it ferociously on the full with spectacular effect.
When Paul Ince scored late on, I’ll never forget rushing to the front of the stand for the midfielder’s clincher and screaming in celebration straight at Cantona as he turned to face us, his own features contorted in a similar expression of unrestrained joy. It was a rare occasion when I was genuinely lost in the moment, sharing it by locking eye contact with the man who had done so much to bring us the championship and going crazy.
The title was in touching distance and the joyous mood continued on the way out of the ground, with one fan in front of me belting out James Brown’s I Feel Good to the amusement of those around him! It still may not have been done and dusted but the sheer ecstasy and relief of that night flooded out of every person in the away end that evening.
When back at home, I watched the highlights with real anticipation that the atmosphere would come across on TV and it did. More amazing times following Alex Ferguson's team were to follow but this was truly a special occasion.